Last year was a record year for whitetail deer hunters in Massachusetts. Overall hunters harvested 11,022 deer, while having a record adult male harvest and archery harvest. The population is holding steady at about 90,000, so hunters should have another good season in 2013.
“Every year hunters take some high quality bucks across the state,” said David Stainbrook, deer and moose project leaders for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Deer densities range from 10-15 deer per square mile in the western and central parts of the state to over 50 deer per square mile on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.”
This year online harvest reporting will be available during the archery and primitive weapons seasons, but hunters can still visit a traditional check station if they prefer. Deer must be taken to a physical check station during shotgun season to allow researchers to collect biological samples from each deer harvested. The possession limit of unchecked deer in Wildlife Management Zones 13 and 14 (Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands) has been increased from two to four deer.
Stainbrook also reminds hunters that Pennsylvania is now a chronic wasting disease-positive state, so any deer harvested in Pennsylvania must be de-boned and wrapped prior to transportation into Massachusetts. The Bay State also prohibits electronic calls and deer decoys. And despite the recent attempts to increase the number of days hunters can be in the field, it’s still illegal to hunt on Sunday.
Public lands offer decent hunting opportunities, but putting in some extra leg-work to gain permission to hunt private land, especially in the East, can pay huge dividends. There you’ll find numerous areas with high deer densities. You can also use the WMA Map Viewer to create custom hunting maps this fall.